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Secretary and Librarian of the Institute of Jamaica. 

Reprinted with some slight additions from the 
"Handbook of Jamaica for (909." 


The Institute of Jamaica. 
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The study of place-names is worthy of attention as being intimately connected 
with history. Many of the ascriptions here given are historical; others are but ten- 
tatively put forward, after as much research as was possible. The writer will be 
glad to receive notes, either amending or adding to the names traced in the follow- 
ing paper. 

It seems most convenient to consider the place-names of Jamaica under the fol- 
lowing heads: — 

I — The Island. 
II — Other Arawak names. 
Ill — Spanish names : 

(a) Towns and villages. 

(b) Rivers. 

IV — Corrupted Spanish names. 
V — English names. 

(a) Parishes. 

(b) Governors. 

(c) Early Settlement. 

(d) Owners. 

(e) Forts. 

(f) Places named after inhabitants. 

(g) Places named after natural features. 

(h) Places named at the time of Emancipation, 
(i) Kingston streets. 
VI — Jamaica in other lands. 

In considering the origin Of the place-names of Jamaica, one naturally begins with 
the name of the island. 

Some of the early Spanish historians — ^putting as they frequently did X for J 

wrote the name Xaymaca, hat it appears in its present form as early as 1511 in 
Peter Martyr's " Decades. " He called it Jamaica and Jamica. The island is 
unnamedin Juan de la Cosa's map of 1500. 

Its first appearance in cartography is on the map made by Bartolommeo 
Colombo, Colombus's younger brother, to illustrate the Admiral's fourth voyage, 
where it is spelled /(Z«!;!;c/ia. InCantino's map (1502-04) it appears as Jamaiqua: 
in Caneiro as Jamaiqua and in Waldseemiiller's map of 1507 zsjamaiaua. In the 
so-called Admiral's map of 1507 it appears as Jamaqua : the name does not appear 
in Ruysch's map of 150S, but in the Ptolemaeus edition, Strasburg 1513, it is given 
as Jamaiqua, and in the Waldseemiiller map of IS16 \t \s a\zo Jamaiqua. 

In the Maggiolo map of 1519 it is Jamaica, but in the Maggiolo map of 1527 it is 
Jamaicha : in Ribero's " Antilles " of 1529, and in Mercator's map of 1541 it is 
Jamaica : but in Herrara's map of 1601, it goes back to the old form Xamaica, 
and as late as 1734 in Charlevoix's " L'isle Espagnole," it appears as Xamayca. 
Amongst Englishmen who wrote of it from personal knowledge immediately after 
the British occupation, Commissioner Butler (1655) wrote it Gemecoe and Gemegoe. 
Daniell (1655) calls it Jamico, Gwakin (1657) wrote it Jammaca, and General Fleet- 
wood (1658) wrote it Jamecah. 

Columbus on his return from his first journey was told by the natives when off 
Tortuga, that if he sailed in a certain direction two days he would arrive at Babeque, 
where he would find gold. Columbus mentions Babeque many times in his journals, 
but he never found it, at least under that name. The" ^Historie," of 1571, identifies 
it with Espanola but this is doubted. Las Casas thought that it might refer to 

In common with most other West Indian native names Jamaica has come to 
us through a Spanish source ; and the native pronunciation was possibly something 
like Hamica. Several derivations have been given 01 the meaning of the word. 
The most extraordinary is that which seeks to connect it with James II. On 
Moll's map of the island, published early in the eighteenth century, it is stated 


that it was first called St. Jago by Columbus who discovered it : but the name waS 
afterwards changed to Jamaica, after James, duke of York. In this connection it is 
somewhat sad to note that not one of the Greater Antilles retained the name given 
to it by Columbus. Espanola, Santiago and Juana, went back to their native Hayti, 
Jamaica and Cuba ; and St. Juan Bautista became Porto Rico. Of the smaller 
islands, the names of Trinidad, Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat and Guadeloupe still 
remind us of their great discoverer. 

James Knight, in the rough draft of his history of Jamaica (1742), in the British 
Museum, gives the following derivation of the word Jamaica : — " In ^ the original it 
was Jamajaco. Jamo in the Indian language is a country, and Jaco is water." 

John Atkins, in his" Voyage to the Guinea, Brazil, and the West Indies" (1737), says 
that " Jamaica was altered by King James, it being a compound of his name and 'ca' 
an island." He was possibly not far wrong in regard to the " island ". The West 
Indian word for an island, cai, (or the Biscayan word cay) is supposed to appear in 
Lucayos (Bahamas) "Men of the island," in the Caicos islands, and also in various 
cays or keys in the West Indies ; albeit modern etymology makes cay or key the 
same word as the Welsh cae. 

Long wrote in 1774 that " It is not improbable that Jamaica is a name of Indian 
extraction, perhaps derived from Jamacaru, the Brasilian name of the prickly- 
pear, which over-spreads the maritime parts of the south side, where the aboriginal 
Indian discoverers of this island miglit have first landed," but this derivation 
has found no supporters amongst later writers. 

Bryan Edwards, writing in 1793, says " The early Spanish historians wrote the 
word Xaymaca. It is said to have signified in the language of the natives, a c untry 
abounding in springs." 

Bridges, who as a rule displays a more fertile imagination than Long without half 
his trustworthiness as a historian, says, writing in 1828, " In the speech of Florida, 
Chaiibaan signified water, and makia, wood (Lescarbot 1.6. C.6.). The compound 
sound would approach to Chab-makia ; and, harmonized to the Spanish ear, would be 
Chamakia, orsome such indistinct union of these two significant expressions, denoting 
a land covered with wood, and therefore watered by shaded rivulets, or in other 
words, fertile." This suggested origin has been usually adopted by later writers. 
Why he sought inFlorida the meaning of words of Jamaica, Bridges does not explain. 
Carib and Arawak are probably the only two languages which Columbus heard 
spoken in the Greater Antilles. Wood, in Arawak, is ada ; woods are in Arawak 
konoho, and in Carib eotch ; and water is in Arawak winiab (Hillhouse) or comiabo'o 
im Thurn), and in Carib toua. 

Bryan Edwards points out that Fernando Columbus's " Historie " states that the 
Indian name of Antigua, was Jamaica, and he adds, " It is a singular circumstance 
tliat this word which in the language of the larger islands signified a country 
abounding in springs, should in the dialect of the Charaibs have been applied to an 
island that has not a single spring or x-ivulet of fresh water in it." Until further 
research proves the contrary Jamaica must remain, what it truly is, the land of 
woods and streams. 

Apart from the name of the island itself, there are few names of native origin 
left. Maima a native settlement on the north side may perhaps still survive in 
Mammee Bay. Guanaboa in St. Catherine, may be perhaps formed from the Cuban 
Indian word meaning any kind of palm, or the native Indian word tor sour-sop 
guanabana. Guanaboa occurs as the name of a district in Hayti. ' 

Names resembling Liguanea (the plain on which Kingston stands) are met with 
throughout the West Indies; e.g. the plain of Leogane in Hayti, and the island of 
Leguan at the mouth of the Essequibo, and the island of Mayaguanain the Baha- 
mas : they may be connected with Iguana the Indian word for lizard. Stedman 
writing in 1796 in his " Revolted Negroes of Surinam, " speaks of " the Leguana or 
Iguana lizard of Guiana." 

There is some difficulty in discriminating between the native Indian and Spanish 
origin of West Indian names: and too great a faith in the laws of philology are apt to 
lead one astray. Place-names are not infrequently rather evolved in accordance with 
the rules of phonetics. 

On this subject Long wrote, "From the resemblance which the language of 
these islanders bears,, in some respects, to the Spanish, I am apt to suspect 
that many of their words have been altered by the Spanish mode of pronunciation, 
and the difficulty which the discoverers found in articulating and accenting them 
without some intermixture of their own patronymic. In some this is exceedingly 


obvious, where the letter b is used indiscriminately for v, agreeably to their idiom. 
This perversion may easily lead us to ascribe a Spanish or Moorish origin to the 
names of places, such as rivers, mountains, head-lands, etc., which in fact are of 
Indian derivation. Thus the article giia, so commonly met with both in these 
islands and on the Southern continent, was often prefixed or appended to the Indian 
names of places and things; and even of their provincial caciques. Of the 
latter were Gua-rionexius, Gua-canarillus, Gua-naboa, and others. Of the former 
a vast multitude occurs, as Gua-namn, Xa-gua, Gua-hd-gua, Camaya-gua, Aicay- 
aza-giia, Ma-gua, Nicara-gua, Vera-gua, Xara-guo, Gua-rico, Ni-gua (Chigger), etc., 
which may seem to confound them with derivativ s from the Spanish or Moorish 
word agua (water). So the terminations, ao, ana, coa, and boaor voa; as, Manabax-ao 
Cib-ao; Gu-ana, Magu-ana, Yagu-ana, Ligu-ana, Zav-ana, (Savannah)' Furac-ana 
(Hurricane), Caym-ana, Guaiac-ana (Guiacum) Haba-coa, Guana-boa, and so 
forth. The names therefore occurring in our island of Liguana, Cagua, Tilboa, 
Guanaboa, Guadibocoa, and others of siinilar finals, are with mere propriety to be 
traced from the Indian than the Spanish dialect." 

Of Spanish names given to towns and villages, St. Jago de la Vega (St. James 
of the plain) still survives in custom, although supplanted officially by Spanish 
Town. So also do Ocho Rios, S: vanna-la-Mar (the plain by the sea) and 
Oracabessa. Esquivel, named after the first Governor (ab. 1501), soon became 
Old Harbour after the British occupation. Oristan, which stood where Blue- 
fields now is, was named after a town in Sardinia, when subject to the crown of 
Spain. Melilla, which was probably situated in St. James, was named after a town 
on the cost of Barbary, then in the possession of Spain. SeviUa-Nueva (new Seville) 
stood where St. Ann's now is. 

Of the Spanish names of rivers, many survive ; the principal being Rio Alto (deep 
river, Rio Cobre (copper river), Rio Grande, Rio Minho, Ro Bueno (the good river), 
Rio Magno (the great river), Rio Novo (new river), Rio D'oro (golden river), Rio 
Pedro (Peter's River). It is thought that Rio Pedro may be a corruption of Rio 
Piedi-a (Stony River). The Rio Minho is said to have been named after a river in 
Portugal, or as Long says in another place, after some mine in the neighbourhood. 
It is thought by some that it should be Rio Mina, the river by the mine. Others 
are named after rivers in Spain. 

Amongst districts we have Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) ; as well as Pedro both in St. 
Ann and in St. Elizabeth. The former is said to have been named after Pedro 
Esquivel, the Spanish Governor. 

The following derivation of Spanish names in Jamaica is given by Long: — 
Notes by the present writer are added between square brackets. 

Auracabcza. Aura, air or breeze ; Cabeza, head or high land. [This is now Ora 
Cabessa in St. Mary. Others derive it from Oro Cabeza, the golden head.] 
Alta Mela. Deep Gap (Alta Mela, Savannah, St. James.) 
Agua Alta Bahia Deep water Bay, corruptly Wag- Water. [Still known as 

Wag Water,] 
Los Angelas. The Angels. [Angels in St. Catherine was the first terminus of 

the railway.] 
Rio Bonito. The Pretty River. 
Cabo Bonito. The Pretty Cape, [in St. Catherine.] 

Cabarita Piinta, Kid or goat point. [In Westmoreland, where there is a river 
of the same name: there is another Cabarita point in Old Harbour Bay, 
and a Cabarita Island in Port Maria Harbour.] 
Rio dc Camarones. Perhaps from Gambaro, a crab, from the abundance of 

black crabs here abouts. 
Cobre Rio. Copper River, or Cobra Port, Snake river. [Still known as Rio 

Caborido. Quasi Caba Arido, the dry or withered cape (Part of Healthshire 

Carvil or Caravel Bahia. Caravela signifies a light round kind of a ship 

formerly used by the Spaniards. 
Diablo Monte. Devil's mount. [Now called Mount Diavolo,] 
Escondido Puerto. The hidden harbour. 
Flora Ria. Flower River. 
Fortalcza Piinta. Fort Point. 

Gallina Punta. Hen Point. [Galina Pomt is in St. Mary.] 
Guada Bocca. Guada, brook of water, boca, mouth. 


Hoja Rio. River of leaves, now corrnptly Riho Hoa. [Now called Rio Hoe.] 

Jarisse Punla. Cross-bow or arrow, probably refers to some action with the 

Javarccii. Rustic expression, signifying a wild boar. 

Lacovia. Quasi Lago-via, or the way by the lake. [A village in St. Elizabeth.] 

Elsewhere Long suggests it may be a corruption ofLaaguavia, the watery way. 

Ligiianea. Lia-withe-guana, the name of an animal, probably one frequent in 
that part of the island. [That part of Lower St. Andrew, bordered by the 
Long mountain, the St. Andrew mountains and the Red hills.] 

Moncqite, or Monesca Savannah. Savannah of monkeys. [Now confined to the 
village of Moneague.] 

Mariboiia. Maria-buena, Mary the good. [Maria Buena Bay is in Trelawny.] 

Mulii-bezon Rio. Multi, many; buzon, conduit. 

Macari Bahia. Macari, a tile, such as is made for floors, which the Spaniards 
universally used here and probably manufactured them near this bay, the 
soil being proper for that purpose. 

[Long adds as a foot-note to Macari, " Or perhaps it may derive more pro- 
perly from the Indian word Macarij (which signifies bitter), and allude to 
the tree commonly called the Ma joe, or Macary-bitter which grows in great 
abundance along this part of the coast, and with whose leaves, bark and 
root, which are all of them extremely bitter, some very notable cures in 
casesof inveterate ulcers, theyaws, and venereal distempers, were some years 
ago performed by an old negress named Majoe, in commemoration of whom 
it took its name." Macary Bay is in Vere. Majoe Bitter, or Macary Bitter 
(Picramnia Antidesnia Sus.) is a shrub about eight feet high, with small 
whitish green flowers, and berries first scarlet, then black.] 

Mautica Bahia. Butter (row Montego bay.) This part abounding formerly 
with wild hogs, the Spaniards probably made here what they called hog's 
butter (lard) for exportation. In a very old deed of conveyance of land in 
St. James a road is marked as leading to Lard Bay.] 

Ocho Rios said to mean eight rivers. [In St. Ann, it was more commonly 
called Chareiras in Long's time ; and indeed as late as 1841, William Rob 
wrote "Ocho Rios, called to this day by the old inhabitants 'Cheireras' its 
early and appropriate name " the Bay of the Water-Falls", but has now 
gone back to Ocho Rios. It is not unlikely that the present form Ocho Rios 
and the derivation from eight rivers is wrong, and that the real name is 
Chorrera, a spout. There is a Chorrera River in Cuba, near Havannah.] 

Perexil Insula, Samphire Island. 

Somhrio Rio,. Shady river, [now called the Sambre.] 

Yalos. Frosts (whence, perhaps corruptly, Yallahs) the high white cliffs having 
the appearance of a frosty covering. [Now called Yallahs. Long was 
probably wrong in connecting Yallahs with Yalos. The Hato de Ayala 
extended from Bull Bay nearly to Morant Bay, and the name is probably a 
personal one. Pedro Lopez de Ayala was a celebrated poet and politician in 
the fourteenth century; Pedro de Ayala was Spanish envoy to the court of 
St. James in' 1498 ; and, curiously, Spain's representative to-day at Havana 
bears the name, de Ayala. There was a Captain Yhallahs, a privateer who 
flourished in Jamaica in and about 1671, and the locality may have been 
named after him.] 

Luidas. Perhaps from Luzida ; gay, fine. [Lluidas Vale is in St. Catherine.] 

Martha Brea. Martha, a woman's name; Brea, tar; perhaps a nickname of - 
some Spanish sailor's Dulcinea like the English vulgar appellation Jack Tar. 
[Martha Brea village and river are in Trelawny. The same word occurs in 
La Brea, the village by the pitch lake at Trinidad.] 
No traces are to be found to-day of the following: — Alta Mela, Rio de Camarones 
Caborida, Carvil Bahia, Escondido Puerto, Flora Rio, Fortaliza Punta, Guada Bocoa 
Jarisse Punta, Javareen, Multi Bezon Rio, Perexil Insula. 

Of corruptions of Spanish names the best known are: — Agualta (Agua alta, the 
deep river) ; Bog Walk (boca d' Agua, water's mouth) ; and Mount Diablo. 
Cagua became with the English Caguay, then Cagway when it was re-named 
Port Royal. 

Those who see in Porus a survival of the name of Columbus's companion Porras 
are probably drawing on a fertile imagination. Columbus and his companions saw 
little of the interior of the island. 


It is more probably called after some well sunk there, or from the porous nature 
of the soil pitted with holes" In the English edition of Ferdinand Columbus's 
Historie , we read that the Morant Cays were called by Columbus Los Pons 
because not finding water in them they dug pits in the sand;" but in the Italian 
edition (Venice, 1571) they are called "le pozzi" (the pits), and in the Spanish 
edition of 1749 they are called "LasPofas" (the pits). It is possible that in the 
case of Porus, as in that of the Morant Cays, there has been a confuson between 
Poros and Po(as: and that the town in Manchester should be called Pogas. 

The Spaniards called the Black River, el Caovana (the Mahogany River). 
When the English took the island in 1655, they socn began to divide it up into 
parishes and the names given to them ai e of interest : — 

St. Catherine was named, it is thought, after Catherine of Portugal the wife of 
Charles II, who was king of England when the parish was formed. In the first act 
in which it is mentioned the correct spelling of the name is used, Katharine. 

The Parish of Clarendon was named in honour of the celebrated chancellor, 
Edward Hyde, first earl of Clarendon. 

St. James was named after the duke of York, subsequently James II. 

St. Ann, after his wife, the eldest daughter of lord Clarendon. If R by is right 
in this, the correct spelling of the name of the parish would be St. Anne, as indeed 
Long and others spell it. 

The Parishes of St. George (now part of Portland), St. Ai drew, and St. David (now 
part of St. Thomas) are derived from Ihe patron saints of England, Scotland and 
Wales. Roby thinks that the name of St. George might have received additional 
appropriateness from the fact that George was the christian name of the duke of 
Albemarle, Sir Thomas Modyford's relative and patron; as also of colonel Nedham, 
his son-in-law. He also points out that although St. Thomas was so called belore the 
arrival of Sir Thomas Modyfcrd, Doyley's immediate uiccessor in the government 
was Thomas Hickman, lord Windsor after whom it may have been called. But 
many of the parishes in the sister colonies were named after sail ts, and we need 
probably seek no further than the desire to establish church districts in the newly 
acquired lane's, for the origin of the names ot several of Jamaica's parishes.' 

The Parish of Port Royal obtained its appellation from its port. The name of the 
latter was changed from C;gua about three years after the Restoration probably in 
honour of that event — although a writer during Sir Charles Lyttelton's governorship 
(1662-64) says it was called Port Royal from the excellency of the harbour. 

The Parish of St. Mary was probably so called from the port (Puerto Santa Maria) 
thus named by the Spaniards: but Roby points out that Modyford's daughter's 
name was Mary, and it was immediately next to the parish of St. George, the name 
of her husband being, as we have seen, Gecrge Nedham. 

St. Elizabeth was probably named in hcnoiir of Elizabeth, Lady Modyford, the 
daughter of William Palmer, whose tombstcne is in the cathedral. 

Fere was named after Vere, daughter of Sir Ecwsid Herbert, attorney general 
to Charles I, and first wife of Sir Thomas Lynch, who, with her two sons, died on 
her passage from England to this island in 1683. 

St. Thomas-in-thc-Vale was probably named after Sir Thomas Lynch. 

St. Dorothy, Roby conjectures, received its name in compliment to Doithy Wale 
who had probably a large estate there. 

Kingston is the common form of King's Town. 

Westmoreland obtained its name from being the western-most parish of the 
island, while Hanover was named after the English reigning family. The As- 
sembly wished to confer on the new parish the name of St. Sophia in honour of 
the mother of George I, but in this it was over-ridden by the Council. 

The four remaining parishes received their names from Governors in the island at 
the date of their formation ; Portland, Trelawny, Manchester and Metcalfe (now 
merged into St. Mary). 

When in 1758, the island was divided into three counties, the middle one was 
appropriately called Middlesex; the western-most was named after the most western 
county in England, Cornwall, and the eastern division was called Surrey, probably 
because, like Surrey in England, its chief town was Kingston. 

In addition to the parishes above named, the names of former Governors have 
been commemoiated in the following manner: — 

Sir Thomas Modyford (1664-70) in Modyford's Gully at Dry River in St. 


Sir Henry Morgan, the buccaneer governor (1675-82) in Morgan's Valley 

in Clarfendon. 
The Earl of Carlisle ((1678-80) in Carlisle Bay in Vere. 
Sir William Beeston (1692-1701) in Beeston Street, Kingston. 
Peter Beckford (1702), or some member of his family, in the Beckford 

streets in Kingston, and Spanish Town. 
Peter Heywood (1716-17) in Heywood Street, in Kingston. 
Sir Nicholas Lawes (1718-22) in Lav/s (sic) Street, in Kingston. 
Henry, Duke of Portland (1722-26) in the Titchfield lands at Port Antonio. 
Edward Trelawny (1738-41) in Trelawny Town, which was so called by 

Colonel Guthrie, after he had taken and burnt Cudjoe's settlement, in 

February 1738-9- 
General George Haldane (1759) in Fort Haldane, near Port Maria, now 

a ruin. 
Henry Moore (1760-62) in Moore Town in Portland. 
William Henry Lyttelton (1762-66) in Hagley Gap in St. T homas, named 

after Hagley, the home of the Lytteltons in Worcestershire. (Mr. 

Jekyll in his " J amaican Song and Story " says that he was told locally 

that Haglev Gap was so-called because it was " a hugly place "!) 
Roger Hope Elletson (1766-67) in Elletson road, Kingston. 
Sir Basil Keith (1774-77) in Keith Hall in St. Catherine. 
Colonel John Bailing (1772-81) in Fort Dalling. 

Alexander, Earl of Balcarres (1795-1801) perhaps in Balcarres Hill in Port- 
land ; but Crawford Town was so called before the Earl of Balcarres 

came to the is' and. 
Lieutenant-General Nugent (1801-1806) in Nugent street, Spanish Town; 

in Nugent lane, Kingston ; and in Fort Nugent, east of Kingston. 
William, duke of Manchester (1808-27) in Mandeville ; and in Manchester 

street, Spanish Tov/n; and perhaps Manchester square, Kingston. 
Major-General Henry Conran, (1813) in Conran lane, Spanish Town. 
Peter, marquis of Sligo (1834-36) in Siigo Ville in St. Catherine. 
Sir Charles Metcalfe (1 839-42) in Metcalfe Ville in St. Ann. 
The earl of Elgin (1842-46) in Elgin street, and Lord Elgin street, 

Captain Charles Darling (1857-62) in Darlingford in Portland, and Darling 

street, Kingston. 
Sir Anthony Musgrave (1878-83) in Musgrave Avenue, Kingston. 
Sir Henry Norman (1S83-89) in Norman road, and Norman crescent 

Kingston, and Norman Range. 
Sir Henry Blake (1889-98) in Blake road, Kingston. 

The only Colonial Secretary whose name, so far as the writer has been able to 
ascertain, has been commemorated is that of the present Governor, in Olivier road 
Constant Spring ; and Olivier Park, Port Antonio. 

The names of some of the soldiers of fortune who came out with Penn and 
Venables, survive. To name but a few, Colebeck Castle (in St. Ca'therine) ; Lono- 
Ville (in Clarendon) ; Hope (in St. Andrew) ; Raymonds (in Vere) ; Ballard's 
Valley (in St. Mary) ; and Ballard's River (in Upper Clarendon), and Halse Hall (in 

Both colonel Colebeck and colone; Long rose to be speaker of the Assembly. 
Colonel Raymond was shot for mutiny. Colonel Ballard was one of the first 
Council. Major Halse came on with Penn and Venables from Barbados. Nicholas 
Lycence, member for St. Thomas 1671-2, gave his name to Lytence, or as it 
afterwards became, Lyssons. 

Cow Bay, and Bull Bay recall the old days of the '■ cow killers" or buccaneers! 
cow, being by them applied to all kinds of horned cattle. 

Stokes Hall in St. Thomas-in-the-East, recalls the time of Governor Stokes, who 
in 1656 settled in that part of the island with a party of Nevis planters. 

Surinam quarters, in St. Elizabeth, were settled in 1675 by planters from Surinam 
when that colony was exchanged with the Dutch for Nev/ York 

Juan de Bolas, a mountain in Clarendon, recalls the deed of that leader of the 
rebellious negroes, who surrendered to the English soldiers soon after the conquest 
of the island : and Runaway Bay on the north side, saw the last of the evicted 


Accompong (in St. Elizabeth) was the name of a captain of rebel Maroons, who 
with their chief Cudjoe, was one of those who made terms with Governor Trelawny 
in 1738. 

Catherine's Peak (often miscalled St. Catherine's Peak) near Newcastle, was 
named after Catherine Long (sister of the historian, and wife of Henry Moore 
lieutenant governorj who in 1760 was the first lady to ascend that peak. 

CuUoden and Auchindown, in St. Elizabeth, date from the time 01 the arrival of 
the ill-fated Darien refugees. 

Temple Hall, in St. Andrew, (and possibly Temple lane, Kingston) is named 
after Thomas Temple of Francton, Warwickshire, who was father-in-law to four 
Jamaica Governors: — Sir Nicholas Lawes, Sir Charles Lyttelton, Sir Thomas Lynch, 
and Sir Hender Molesworth. 

Passage Fort recalls the time when there was much taking of passage from Spanish 
Town to Port-Royal. 

Port Henderson, hard by, is named after a former owner, John Henderson, Colonel 
of militia, who was presented at court in Februarj 1784. He died at his estate in 
Scotland in iSll. It was founded in opposition to Passage Fort, as it afforded better 
accommodation for ships. 

Half- Way Tree, was so called as being half-way between Greenwich on the har- 
bour and Stony Hill, where the barracks were situated. 

The chief town of Westmoreland was formerly called Queen's Town (now Cross 
Path) and contained a church and many inhabitants, but in 1730 Savanna-la-Mar 
(the plain by the sea) rose into fame. 

Gordon-Town was formerly the property of a family of that name, but was not, as 
some suppose, connected with George William Goulon, of Morant Bay fame. 

Dallas Castle (which still survives as a district in St. Andrew) was owned by a 
scion of the family of D.illas, in the state of Alabama, whose descendants played 
their part in Jamaica history. 

Kettering was a township founded by William Knibb, the missionary, and named 
after the birth-place of himself, and of the Baptist Mission in Northamptonshire 

Walderston, in Manchester, is named after the Rev. Mr. Walder, its founder. 

In many old maps of the island, notably Robertson's (published in 1S04) the 
names of the owners are given, rather than the names of properties, and in many 
instances, these proper names exist to this day : and to-day the negro peasantry 
will often be able to tell you the name of the owner when they are ignorant 
of the name of the estate or house. 

Moses Kellet, who represented Clarendon in the Assembly in 1746-51, was the 
owner of Kellets in Clarendon. 

Seaford Town, in St. James, is named after Lord Seaford, who there established 
a settlement of German immigrants. 

For Beckford Town in Westmoreland, now little more than a name, the land was 
given by Richard Beckford one of the family of that name, which numbered in it 
some of Jamaica's most wealthy planters. 

Some one with classic taste named Catadupa, a word ongmally applied to the cat- 
aracts of the Nile, and once used both in French and English for a waterfall. 

John Alexander, a Scotchman,called Ins estate in St. Ann, m the early part of the 
nineteenth century, Alexanlria : and the eastern idea led to the nammg of Aboukir 
Rosetta, Tobolski and Egypt, some of them perhaps in honour of Sir Ralph Aber- 
cromby, whose birthplace lies near Alexander's, 

Towns in Jamaif-a hive not always adopted the names given to tliem. When it 
was proposed after the destruction of Port Royal in 1692, to fix- on a new port. Old 
Harbour was selected, and it v/as dcc:ded to call it \AAest Chewier, but the claims of 
Kingston' site prevailed, and Old Harbour remained Old Harbour. 

When Black River and ForL Maria were declared ports of entry they were 
re-named Gravesend, and Newport, but theii-old names have survived. 

Manning's Hill in St. Andrew Hills, and Salt Hill, Morce s Gap, and Hardware 
Gap (whi?h should be Hardwar Gap) in the Blue Momitams, recall the names of 
former owners :— Edward Manning, who for many years represented Kingston in 
the Assembly Daniel Salt, John Morce, at one time Serjeant-at-Arms of the House 
of Assembly ' and also Deputy Postmaster General, and John Hardwar, who was 
Auditor General in 1782. Hardv/ar Hill is rightly so called m Norie's " West Indian 
Directory" (1845). Rackham's Cay recalls the last of the piccaroons. 

Of the Forts erected from time to time for the protection of the island, but few 
remain-— Fort Charles (at Port Royal), was named after Charles II; Fort 

8 JAMAicA 

Augusta possibly after Princess Augusta Sophia, daughter of George III 
most of the otliers were as we have seen, named after Governors. 

Some places are named from their inhabitants, either animal or vegetable. Of 
these the best known is John Crow Ridge (called in Long's time Carrion Crow 

Annotto Bay and Manchioneal Bay were propably so called because of the 
quantity of anatta and manchioneal growing there : and Alligator Pond from the 
number of crocodiles (often mis-named alligators) found there. 

At the mouth of Old Harbour Bay are great and little Pelican Bays : and in St. 
Catherine is Manatee Bay. Under this heading too, come the two dependencies of 

The Cayman Islands, some think are so called from the crocodiles seen there when 
first discovered by the Spaniards. Uring, writing in 1/49, says, "Columbus who dis- 
covered them called them Las Tortugas on account of the turtle swarming in their 
coasts." Some think they received their present name because Grand Cayman resem- 
bles a crocodile in shape. Others again hold that the Islands are Cayo Mano (Grand 
Cayman resembling an outstretched hand) : Cayo Brace (Cayman Brae resembling a 
handless arm) : and Cayo Chico (Little Gayman). Henry Whistler, who came out 
with Veuables in 1655, alludes to one of them as Kie of maims, but he evidently was 
no authority on nomenclature being a man of but little education. 

There can be little doubt, however, that the Brae of Cayman Brae is identical with 
the obsolete Anglo-Saxon word "brack", a cliff, crag or rock. 

To-day the Turk's head cactus {melocactus communis) , to which the Turks Islands 
owe their name, is seldom seen in Grand Turk, but is plentiful at the Caicos. 

Long, after ridiculing the tale copied by many writers that the rain drops which 
fall at Magotty turn into magots, goes on to suggest the derivation of " maga (an 
enchantress) and oteo watching on a high place; alluding probable to the pinnacle of 
Monte Diablo, over which the thunder clouds so frequently break, as together with its 
horrid aspect, to make it seem a proper residence for a witch, under patronage of the 
devil, to whom the mountain was dedicated." 

Of names given owing to natural features, there are numbers in Jamaica ; — the 
Blue Mountains; the Red Hills; the Great, White, Swift, Dry, and Milk Rivers; 
Green Island; Dry Harbour; Dry Mountains; the Round Hill (in Vere), and so on. 

The Y. S. River (pronounced Wyers) is. Long tells us, so called from the Gallic 
word Y. S. which signifies crooked or winding. 

Another authority says the name of the property was Wyess, and its commercial 
mark for shipping purposes was Y. S. 

Labour-in-vain Savannah in St. Elizabeth is a name perfectly descriptive of its 

The struggle for and the success of Emancipation, have left their names on many a 
free negro settlement; some of which it is to be feared, have not realized their early 
promise : — Clarkson Ville, Sturge Town, Wilberforce, Buxton, Liberty Hill and others. 

Some names are typical of the simple faith and language of the negro, such as 
Wait-a-bit and Corae-see. Me-no-sen-you-no-come in Trelawny must have been 
named by folk of recluse habits. Others are not euphonious — Fat Hog Quarter, 
Running Gut (which Lawrence Archei", in his " Monumental Inscriptions of the 
British West Indies" thinks may probably be a corrution by some seafaring man of 
Harangittta, a branch of the Ganges), Starve Gut Bay ; and one rather wonders whether 
they are not vulgar corruptions of different designations. We find, however, similar 
names in the other islands: — Dos d'Aiic in Dominica; and Mai d'Estomac in Trinidad. 
On the other hand Kick-cm-Jenny, the rock between St. Vincent ani Grenada, is slid 
to have been originally called Cay qu' on gene — the is'.et that bothers one, from the 
roughness of the neighbouring sea. 

Many names of townships and properties have been translated from the old country 
— Oxford, Ipswich, Cambridge, Newmarket, and the like, — and the number of Belle- 
vues, Belvideres, Contents, speak little for the inventive faculties of those who named 

A fair number of the streets of Kingston have personal names. To those named 
after Governors we have already made reference. 

There was a Thomas AUman, clerk to the Agent Victuallers at Jamaica, who was 
wanted for forgery and embezzling £1,283, i" 1743: but AUman Town, which came 
into existence soon after Emancipation, was named after George Allman, who was 
either an officer in the Army or the son of one.* 

'^This. and other information, kindly supplied by Mr. G. F. Judah. 


Barry Street reminds us of colonel Samuel Barry, who was one of the first 
Council named in 1661, and owned the land on which Kingston was built. The land 
called Colonel Barry's Hog Crawle was sold to Bccston, who had it laid out in lots 
for the building of Kingston. 

Byndloss lane bears the name of a family which in the seventeenth and early 
eighteenth century supplied seven members to the Assembly— the earliest being 
colonel Robert Byndloss, member for Cagua in 1663. 

Barnes Gully recalls Joseph Barnes, mayor, custos and representative in the 
Asse.nibly, of Kingston, who died in 1829. 

Bowrey Road reminds us of a recent island chemist, from whose property the 
road was formed. 

Hibbert street also recalls a family closely connected with Jamaica in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth century, one member of which built Head-Quarter House, 
formerly known as Hibbert-House. 

Marescaux road, north of Kingston, reminds us of the late managerof the Colonial 
Orange and Hanover streets refer to reigning houses of England. 
It is probable that Pechon street was named after major John Bonnet Pechon, 
who was assistant engineer on the military staff in 1809, and later island engineer. 
He died in 1815. 

Princess street is a corruption of Prince's Street, as it was called in Beeston's time. 
It is called Rue dii Prince on a French translation of Lilly's map. 

Sutton street was probably named after colonel Thomas Sutton, who was 
speaker of the Assembly at the time of the earthquake of 1692. 

Temple lane in Kingston, as well as Temple Hall in St. Andrew, was named 
after Susanna Temple, the fourth wife of Sir Nicholas Lawes, sister of " la belle 
Temple" of de Grammont, the wife of Sir Charles Lyttelton. 

Whence Tower street obtained its name is not known. One might assume that it 
was named after John Towers, who was member of Assembly for Clarendon in 1688, 
but that it appears in early records as Tower. The following has been suggested as 
the origin. In the early days of Kingston the town had a rector but no church. The 
rector lived in Tower street. It is thought that the rector's house may have been 
used as a church and had a tower and bell. 

Wildman street is named after James Wildman, a member of the Council, in 1786, 
and later fellow member of parliament for Hindon with Monk Lewis, another 
Jamaica proprietor. 

Though they apparently omitted to dedicate their parish church to a patron saint 
the people of Kingston named five of their lanes after the Apostles. 

In Spanish Town, in addition to the streets mentioned in the list of governors, the 
origin of Adelaide street (after the Queen of that name), William street, (after the 
Prince who was later king), Brunswick street, (after the Duke of Brunswick) and 
Nelson lane and Wellington street are obvious. 

Canning lane and Melbourne lane tell of two English prime ministers. Iq Coch- 
rane Lane we have probably a reminiscence of Sir Alexander Cochrane who was 
admiral on the Jamaica Station in 1814-15. Ellis street tells of the family of lord 
Seaford who had properties in the island, the original Ellis having come over in 
Venables' army. The first Lord Seaford was born In Spanish Town. 

Barrett street recalls a family long resident in the island on the northside. Richard 
Barrett was speaker of the Assembly In 1830. 

Of its trade with the outside world Jamaica has evidences in Jamaica Bay, in 
Acklin's Island, Bahamas; in Jamaica (as old at least as 1699), Long Island ; in Ja- 
maica Plain near Boston; in Jamaica street in Glasgow, and formerly in the Jamaica 
coffee house in London. 

The Jamaica coffee house was in St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, which runs out of 
Cornhill to the west of St. Michael's church. This alley is famous as having cori- 
tained the first coffee house established in London. The Jamaica coffee house is 
kept in memory there by the Jamaica wine house which adjoins the office of a wine 
merchant (E. J. Rose & Co.) and by Jamaica buildings. Like all city alleys, the 
place has been entirely rebuilt. 

Jamaica street, one of the busiest streets in Glasgow, leading to Jamaica Bridge 
over the Clyde, was named in 1763, and its name was doubtless suggested by the 
business connection. There are other evidences in Glasgow of West Indian trade in 
St. Vincent street, Tobago street, and the "Havannah" (street); but the name of 
Kingston Dock has no connection with Kingston, Jamaica. 


Agricultural Gazette, New South 

Agricultural Journal, Cape of Good 

Agricultural News (Barbados) * 
Art Journal 


Bulletin, Department of Agriculture, 

Bulletin of American Republics* 

Cassell's Magazine 
Cassell's Saturday Journal 
Catholic Magazine (Jamaica)* 
Catholic Opinion (Jamaica)* 
Century Illustrated Magazine 
Chambers' Journal 
Christian Science Sentinel* 
Contemporary Review 

Empire Review 
English Mechanic 

Fortnightly Review 

Gardner's Monthly (Jamaica)* 


Geographical Journal (London)* 

Gleaner (Jamaica)* 


Guardian (Jamaica)* 

Harper's Magazine 
Hibbert Journal 
Home Art Work 

Kew Bulletin' 

Knowledge and Scieutifical Progress in 
the twentieth century 

Literary World 
Louisiana Planter* 

Musical Herald* 

National Review 


New York Herald 

Nineteenth Century 

North American Review 

Northern News (Jamaica) 

Pall Mall Magazine 
Presbyterian (Jamaica)* 
Presbyterian (Trinidad)* 
Public Opinion 
Publislier's Cirf ular' 


Review of Reviews 

Saturday Review 

Scientific American, and Supplement 


Strand Magazine 


Illustrated London News 

Jamaica Gazette* 

Jamaica Times* 

Jamaica Weather Report * 

Journal of Education (Jamaica)* 

Journal of the Jamaica Agricultural 

Journal of the Royal Society of Arts* 

Telegraph (Jamaica)* 
Times (London) 

United Service Magazine* 

West India Committee Circular' 
West Indian Bulletin* 
Windsor Magazine 

* Presented. 


To be obtained at the Institute. 

Root Food Growth in Jamaica. By Rev. J. CORK ... 

Some Objects of Productive Industry : Native and other Fibre 

Plants. By D.Morris 
Outline of a Lecture on Vegetable C.iemistry. By J. J. BOWREY .. 
The Cultivation of the Orange in Jamaica. By Dr. JAMES NeiSH .. 
The Vine and its Culture. By Rev. Wm. GRIFFITH 
The Cultivation of the Ramie. By Hon. J. C. PHILLIPPO 
On a New Beverage Substance : The Kola Nut. By Dr. jAMES 

The Advantages to result from Railway Extension. By Hon. W. 

On the Geology of Jamaica | g r^^_ ^ Scotland 
On Mmmg m Jamaica ( 

The Mineral Springs of Jamaica. By Hon. J. C. PHILLIPPO 
A Provisional List of the Fishes of Jamaica. By T. D. A. 

Institute of Jamaica l^ectures : Agriculture 

List of the Decapod Crustacea of Jamaica. By MaRY J. Rathbxjn 
The Economic Geology of Jamaica. 3y F. C. NICHOLAS 
The Rainfall Atlas of Jamaica. By MAXWELL HALL, M.A. 
The Meteorology of Jamaica. By MAXWELL HALL, M.A. 
Systematic Catalogue of the Land and Fresh-water Shells of 

Jamaica. By HENRY Vendryes 
The Mosquitoes or Culicidae of Jamaica. By F. V. THEOBALD, 

M.A., and M. Grabham, M.A., M.B. (illustrated) 
The Journal of the Institute of Jamaica (illustrated) — 

Vol. I., Pts. i., ii, iii, iv., lathers out of print), per part 

Vol. II., Pts. ii. and v. (Pts. i. and iii. out of print) 

Vol. II., Pt. iv. (Special " Aboriginal Indian Remains" 

Vol. II., Pt. vi. 
Vol. II., bound 
Bibliotheca Jamaicensis: 

Jamaica in the Library of the Institute. 

Bibliographia Jamaicensis : A list of Jamaica books and pamphlets, 

magazine articles, newspapers and maps, most of which are in 

the Library of the Institute of Jamaica. By FRANK CUNDALL 
Supplement to Bibliographia Jamaicensis. By Frank CuNDALL ... 
BibUography of the West Indies. By FRANK CuNDALL. In tlie Press 
Classified List of Books : Agriculture 
Catalogue of Books in the Library of the Institute ... 
List of Books on Jamaica in the Library of the Institute. Excerpted 

from the Catalogue 
Classified List of Books (except West Indian) added to the Library 

since 1895. I In preparation) 
Studies in Jamaica History. By FRANK CUNDALL. Illustrated by 

Mrs. Lionel Lee 
Biographical Armals of Jamaica. By FRANK CUNDALL. (Illustrated) 
Jamaica in 1905 : A Handbook of Information for intending 

Settlers and Visitors. (With Illustrations and Map).) By FRANK 

CUNDALL. (out of print) 
Political and Social Disturbances in the West Indies : A Brief 

Account and Bibliography. BY FRANK CUNDALL 
A Brief Guide to an Exhibition of Maps of the Sixteenth Century 

Illustrative of the Discovery of America. By FRANK CUNDALL, 

Lady Nugent's Journal. Jamaica One Hundred Years Ago. Edited 

by Frank Cundall. (With Illustrations and Maps) 
Jamaica Place-Names. By Frank CUND ALL 

Some account of the principal works on 
By Frank Cundall, 

Post Free, 
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3 1924 096 224 708